e all love numbers and we all love to know who is most popular, or at least, who has the most followers, so when the people from Twittercounter built Socialstatistics to measure who has the most followers on Google+ we all dove on it. And we saw that, oh irony, Mark Zuckerberg was the most followed user on Google+.
Well, not anymore. If you go to Socialstatistics now you will see the face you will see on top of many lists of social tools: Robert Scoble. Did he pass Zuckerberg in popularity? Did Zuckerberg leave Google+? No, he didn’t, Zuckerberg isn’t there anymore because he decided to change his privacy settings. His numbers now cannot be read anymore. His profile is still there.
Google overnight changed some privacy settings which now allows you to not show the number of followers you have. The change not just affects Zuckerberg, the numbers of Googlers like Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Marissa Mayer cannot be seen anymore either. Don’t worry: you can still follow them or look at their profiles, its just the numbers which are hidden.
The fact that Zuckerberg changed his setting is somewhat of an irony, because not long ago it was Zuckerberg himself who said the age of privacy is over.
The change is a preview of more privacy changes we will be seeing in the coming days. Frances Haugen, Product Manager, Google+ Profiles & Search, announced on her Plus page that gender can be ‘hidden’, one of the items which was public until now:
She explains how gender information is used by Google in the first place.